[October 11, 2017] Fundamental traits of what constitutes a great leader never changes. Those characteristics that stand out as key component of greatness will remain the same as long as people remain humans and just as our wants and desires remain unchanged. One of those important traits that cannot go without mentioning here is generosity; a universal leader characteristic.
The essence of generosity for a leader is to ensure every single day that leader does their very best possible. The most important part of being the very best means recognizing that everyone has a need to grow and that it is a leader’s duty to help build others up and help them grow as individuals. In business, this is what we often refer to as “taking care of our employees.”
“Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.” – Khalil Gibran, Lebanese writer, poet, and artist
Generous leaders trust their colleagues, empower subordinates and foster a work culture of inspiration, openness, collegiality, and excellence. This is the epitome of generosity; that when given provides the impetuous for others to be better than they would have been without it.
The most useful definition of leadership means getting others to do things they would not normally have done and because they wanted to. What leaders do for others has no direct monetary value (so it’s not a handout) but what they do has a value far beyond any price. In a nutshell, this translates into generosity of spirit; a quality greatly admired.
The very best leaders give others a sense of importance, non-judgmental feedback, visibility in the organization, encouragement, opportunity, and moral support. According to Ramban, an ancient Catalan rabbi and philosopher, the highest form of generosity is helping someone become self-reliant. This is what great leaders do every day.
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